Make Ahead

Monkey (Ginger)Bread

December  9, 2010
5 Ratings
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

I love monkey bread, and the warm and happy family-time feeling of gathering around something and tearing it apart. But I want my holiday breakfast to have a hint of sugarplum-y whimsy- enter gingerbread. This is my attempt to marry two delicious dishes into one fantastic breakfast. I hope you like it! Oh, and I wanted to test this by doing steps 1-8 the night before, refrigerating the pan of dough, and then doing the second rise in the morning, but I ran out of time. So if you want to make this for breakfast, you could give that a try, or wake up at 5 AM- your call :) - arielleclementine —arielleclementine

Test Kitchen Notes

Not too sweet and not too spicy, this holiday breakfast reaps all the best rewards of monkey bread and gingerbread. It's fluffy and fragrant, and the crust is laquered with a brown sugar caramel. We recommend eating it warm, with salted butter and coffee. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • pinch sugar
  • 1/3 cup warm water (110 degrees)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour (if needed)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  1. In a small bowl, combine yeast and a pinch of sugar with the warm water. Set aside to sit for 10 minutes, until foamy.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine 2 tablespoons butter, milk, and molasses and heat until the butter is melted. Set aside to cool briefly.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg with a whisk or spoon.
  4. Attach the dough hook and turn the mixer to low speed. Slowly add the molasses mixture and then the yeast mixture. After the dough comes together mix for 7 minutes, or until smooth. The dough will be sticky (it should stick to the bottom of the bowl), but if it seems too wet add up to 1/4 cup additional flour, one tablespoon at a time.
  5. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead by hand for an additional minute to form a smooth ball. Lightly oil a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and put it in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 1.5 hours.
  6. Butter the bundt pan with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Put the melted stick of butter in one small bowl, and the brown sugar in another.
  7. When the dough has risen, transfer to a lightly floured surface and gently pat into an 8-inch square. Cut dough into 64 pieces and roll the pieces into balls. One at a time, dip the balls in butter, then roll in brown sugar, and place in the bundt pan, making all attempts to distribute the balls evenly.
  8. Cover the bundt pan with plastic wrap, place in a warm spot, and allow to rise for 1 more hour. (Or you could be a gambler and refrigerate the dough overnight, and then let it come to room temperature in the morning just before baking for breakfast). The balls should be puffy and about an inch below the top of the pan.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the monkey bread for 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool in pan for 5 minutes (but no longer!). Invert onto a cake stand and cool for another 5-10 minutes. Devour!
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • SouthernSnacker
  • Adelucchi
  • cherylynne1
  • hardlikearmour
  • daisybrain
I have always loved food. My favorite books as a kid always featured food (eg. The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies- so much candy!) and I loved cooking shows like Yan Can Cook and The Frugal Gourmet. I started cooking the Thanksgiving dinner for my family when I was 13 years old. I have food52 to thank for inspiring me to come up with my own recipes, as well as for introducing me to a community of fantastic cooks and their amazing recipes. I try my best to cook locally and seasonally, and I tend to prefer straightforward, simple recipes where the ingredients get to shine. I live in wonderful Austin, Texas with my husband, Andy (a video game programmer) and my son, Henry (an 8-month-old who loves to eat).

89 Reviews

problemtrick April 13, 2024
I want to eat this cake right now; it looks so delicious. It will be better to eat it when playing games using The Best Graphics Card Under 200
Catie M. December 15, 2020
I make this recipe almost yearly and drop it off raw to close friends and family the day before Christmas so they can bake it fresh Christmas morning. This year I want to make it for my in-laws but the only time frame I have to drop it off to them is a week before Christmas. Has anyone had any success making it that far in advance? Does it work better if you freeze it? Does it hold in the fridge for a whole week? Thanks in advance!
SouthernSnacker December 25, 2018
I know this is an older recipe, but I just have to share. I've made this every Christmas Eve for probably the last 7 years. It's our Christmas tradition. I actually do the prep the night before, steps 1-8 while watching A Christmas Story, and then bake in the morning. It probably doesn't rise quite as much as it would/should, but it's still delicious. Love this recipe so much!!
MizF December 11, 2014
What size bundt pan? Apparently they come in 8" and 10".
Kaja1105 December 19, 2015
This looks like it was baked in the classic Nordic Ware bundt pan, which is around 10 inches in diameter and holds 12 cups.
Dr. G. March 3, 2013
This came out perfectly! superb!
Dr. G. March 3, 2013
This looks amazing!
Adelucchi January 1, 2013
Haven't thought about monkey bread in ages. Decided to make this one for my birthday brunch. Visiting and my host didn't have a bunt pan. So I followed the recipe except I substituted dark brown sugar for molasses and half white whole wheat flour. Placed the sugared balls in a round Pyrex dish. Came out great!! Want to try it in a bunt pan. Thanks so much for a new twist on te old monkey bread.
etrets December 25, 2012
This didn't really rise for me a second time, though it looked beautiful after the first rise. Do I need to punch it down more in between the two?
cherylynne1 December 17, 2012
Must use a bundt pan. I didn't and realized as my guests started pulling it apart-- the middle was still dough. Ugh. I may get a bundt pan from Santa now.
gingerlover4ever February 1, 2012
I made this cake and substituted Domaine de Canton for the fresh ginger and it was amazing!! I highly recommend it.
arielleclementine February 1, 2012
ooh! what a fun idea! thanks for the tip :)
hardlikearmour January 31, 2012
Delicious doesn't do this justice! I ate far too many balls of this miraculous creation. Thanks, AC!
arielleclementine January 31, 2012
yay! thanks hla!!
daisybrain December 25, 2011
Made this today for Christmas at home. What a success. Making it again for our New Year's Day festivities. Be careful with the cloves though. I probably could have used a little less.
arielleclementine December 28, 2011
oh thank you! sorry if i was a bit heavy-handed with the cloves- i love love ground clove, but i know many people think it's overpowering. i'll be making this in a few weeks, and i think i'll borrow a page from smitten kitchen and top it with a cream cheese glaze, just to put it completely over the top: thanks again for trying my recipe :)
daisybrain December 29, 2011
Mmmmm. Cream cheese glaze...
Lori L. November 29, 2011
I made this last year. Twice. The first time I was half asleep and didn't see the directions for letting the bread rise again before baking. We ate some anyways it looked so good. The second time it was perfect and so, so delicious. I can't wait to make it again.
arielleclementine December 28, 2011
i'm so happy you enjoyed it! thanks for the comment!
alexmr November 26, 2011
so delicious! Can't wait to make it for Christmas morning... maybe a few more test runs before then too ;-)
arielleclementine November 28, 2011
haha! thank you so much! ps- your baby and puppy are adorable- so much cute!
AntoniaJames November 25, 2011
Saved and printed for the December holidays. My boys are going to love it. ;o)
arielleclementine November 28, 2011
you're so sweet- i really hope your boys enjoy it!
Anitalectric February 2, 2011
I wish my sister would have kids already so I could make this with them. When we were kids, we had a better homes and gardens kid's coobook and there was a recipe for something like this that involved grands biscuits and hershey's kisses. It was so much fun to make!

This recipe looks like it would be easy to veganize, too, but substituting coconut milk and coconut cream.
arielleclementine November 28, 2011
i love any and all forms of monkey bread! thanks for the vegan tips!!
ourlastsupper December 30, 2010
I made this for Christmas morning, too! I followed your do-ahead instructions and it worked perfectly. It was the hit of the breakfast buffet. Thanks for sharing it with us.
arielleclementine January 1, 2011
hooray! so happy to hear that :) thank you!
Katy December 27, 2010
I did in fact make this for Christmas morning breakfast - it was absolutely delicious. Our house gets pretty cold overnight, so I just left the pan out on the counter for the second rise and baked it when we got up. I was impressed by how well the spicy flavors came through, it's a great recipe!
arielleclementine December 27, 2010
oh hooray! i'm so glad you liked it! thanks for the kind feedback :)
kary December 19, 2010
Do you think it would work to form it into the balls and put into the pan and then refrigerate that overnight? Then let come to room-temp and bake?

(I know it's really cool that you can refrigerate the dough overnight and this may just be pushing the envelope too far. But I'm curious. Would fit into schedule better.)
arielleclementine December 20, 2010
hi kary! i have tried this, and it worked just fine! here's how it went down: i did steps 1-7 as written the night before, covered the bundt pan with with plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge overnight. 9 hours later, the dough had barely risen at all. i took it out of the fridge and let it sit for an hour (it rose just a bit more) and then baked, following the directions in step 9. it came out great! i think the flavor might be a little bit more intensified, but i think that's a good thing, and it sure made this morning easy! thanks!
Waverly December 17, 2010
This contest may be the most difficult yet! Both of these finalists' recipes look divine. Ultimately, it was the caramel and ginger that won me over. I cannot wait to make this. Lovely! Congratulations on being a finalist.
Waverly December 17, 2010
This also looks like it would make a nice gift....hmmmm.
arielleclementine December 17, 2010
that is so sweet of you! i really hope you like it :) as far as gift-giving goes, this bread is really best when eaten 15 minutes or so after being pulled out of the oven, when the caramel is still warm and sticky...